The Hollow Parties, by Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld

Skip to product information
1 of 1
Regular price $35.00
Regular price Sale price $35.00
Sale Sold out
America’s political parties are hollow shells of what they could be, locked in a polarized struggle for power and unrooted as civic organizations. The Hollow Parties takes readers from the rise of mass party politics in the Jacksonian era through the years of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Today’s parties, at once overbearing and ineffectual, have emerged from the interplay of multiple party traditions that reach back to the Founding.

Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld paint unforgettable portraits of figures such as Martin Van Buren, whose pioneering Democrats invented the machinery of the mass political party, and Abraham Lincoln and other heroic Republicans of that party’s first generation who stood up to the Slave Power. And they show how today’s fractious party politics arose from the ashes of the New Deal order in the 1970s. Activists in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention transformed presidential nominations but failed to lay the foundations for robust, movement-driven parties. Instead, modern American conservatism hollowed out the party system, deeming it a mere instrument for power.

Party hollowness lies at the heart of our democratic discontents. With historical sweep and political acuity, The Hollow Parties offers powerful answers to pressing questions about how the nation’s parties became so dysfunctional—and how they might yet realize their promise.

Praise for The Hollow Parties:

“Schlozman and Rosenfeld provide an ambitious and novel account of the country’s contemporary political crises: the authoritarian threat from the Republican right, the listlessness of the Democrats, and the widening gulf between them. Provocative and insightful, The Hollow Parties makes a powerful argument that the defense of American democracy requires parties to again become central institutional actors in civic life.” —David A. Bateman

“This is a wonderful and necessary book rooted in a sense of urgency and a wise understanding of American history. The Hollow Parties argues persuasively and passionately that political parties are essential to a healthy democracy, and that their salvation lies not in raising gobs of money but in rooting themselves in the daily civic lives and bread-and-butter concerns of local communities. It’s also a joy to read a pathbreaking work of political science written in eloquent and elegant prose.” —E. J. Dionne Jr.

“This masterful book marks a landmark and paradigm-shifting study of American political parties. It is ambitious in the best sense of the word and is an argument with which anyone interested in American politics will have to contend.” —Lily Geismer

View full details